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The Good Doctor

I’m a day late with my weekly post, but better late than never. Just a quick blurb here to say something positive.

I type/edit dictation for doctors, their visit summaries, operative reports, letters, consultations, etc…I have typed for all kinds of doctors in almost every field of medicine. I have always had my favorites because they were easy and guaranteed me a good line count, but there are a few I have come across that really stand out for other reasons. I have a physician that I type for currently who makes extra comments about how much he enjoyed meeting the patient and having a discussion about their job or future plans. He asks them to keep him updated on those things and he can’t wait to see them again to hear about their progress. This doctor seems genuinely excited about not only the medicine involved in patient care, but having a relationship with his patients. On top of that, even though he doesn’t know who is transcribing his reports, he takes a few extra seconds to say thank you for transcribing. He will wish me well for a holiday or tell me to have a great weekend. There are many doctors who say a quick “thank you” to the transcriptionist at the end of their files, but when you have one that takes the time to more personally address you, say thank you and let you know you are appreciated, it makes a world of difference. I love this job for being able to share in a patient’s story, learn so many exciting things from brilliant physicians, and feel like I am contributing in a positive way. I am reminded that we are all a partnership and when we bring joy to what we do, we all are better professionals, patients, and people!

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An MT Pet Peeve…

Something that has always been frustrating about being an MT is that there are things I do, things I invest time in, that I do not get paid for. I get paid to type or edit lines of text, but the extra stuff I do that goes in to that, in my opinion, is extra stuff I do that is uncompensated. I don’t get paid for the time spent looking up old patient files to confirm a drug allergy or to verify the spelling of a new surgical instrument. I spend extra time looking up account specs or checking/writing e-mails. I don’t consider these things part of the line count pay. Of course, I have to do these things less as I get to know my accounts better, but there is always an amount of extra work that has to be done throughout the day that is unpaid. It never really bothered me too much until I started to get my pay gradually sliced away. The platform I am currently working in also shows me exactly how much time I spend typing/editing over the course of an hour, and it’s always short. Even when I have a really good hour and stay focused, I lose about 5 to 6 minutes. When I get a tough doctor thrown in there or a file with all sorts of problems, I might lose 15 minutes out of an hour. I’m not sure exactly how the program tracks this, but I set my own timer for 1 hour and then compare it to the line counter/timer in the program showing how much time I worked and it NEVER shows a full hour! When you are getting paid pennies per line and need to stack those lines quickly to make enough money, that lost chunk of time really stinks! Well, there’s my rant for tonight….Overall, I did have a very good week production wise, but still have work to do to get to where I need to be. Still chuggin’ along! Hope you all have a great week ahead 😀

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How to program your Shorthand to correct “followup” to “follow up” and vice versa…

I had a great, productive day, but one thing I realized was that I was constantly correcting “followup” to “follow up” and vice versa. The speech wreck gets it right about half the time I would say, but I figured I could save some keystrokes if I created a command in my text expander to do it for me. I use Shorthand 10 and it’s pretty easy to create these commands once you figure it out. I’ll share my commands here….hope it helps someone!

First, I should let you know that my command for “followup” is “fup” and “follow up” is “flp” for when I’m straight typing. Of course, whatever you use is fine. I just want to make sure you understand what I’m basing the following on. Also note that for this to work, your cursor needs to be just before the “f” and then type the shortcut.

To change “follow up” to “followup”: 

  • Keyword:  change_flp_to_fup
  • Text-to-type:  {@KEY Ctrl+Right}{@KEY Bksp}{@KEY Ctrl+Right}
  • Shortcut:  Alt+U (I used U because I want the “fup” in the end, but you can use whatever key makes sense to you.)

To change “followup” to “follow up”:

  • Keyword:  change_fup_to_flp
  • Text-to-type:  {@KEY Ctrl+Del}follow up              (*Note: There is 1 space after “up.” If you don’t put the space in the command, you will have to press the space bar after text expands, so put it in to save a keystroke!)
  • Shortcut:  Alt+L (I used L because I want the “flp” in the end, but again, use what works for you.)

I have tested these in Word 2010 and they work for me. I can’t say for sure if they will work on platforms that do not use Word, but they are easy enough to tweak to get them to do what you want. For any keystroke-simulating command, you just need to keep track of every keystroke you make and know how to use the {@Key} tags to create a command. The “How To Guide” (under Help) in Shorthand shows you how to do this, but if you need help, feel free to ask!

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MT Productivity – Making Progress, I think!

Howdy…just taking a quick minute to update the world on my progress with reaching my goals. I have had a very trying 2 weeks since I made my goals, but I have had some success despite several obstacles! I lost half a day of work due to computer issues. I spent a total of about 3 hours on the phone with tech support last week, but figured out there were probably some problems with some programs/apps recently added to my computer that were causing an issue. Once I removed them, everything worked fine! The other issue I have had has been my WiFi cutting out several times a day. While it was coming back on within a minute or so, every time it happened, I would get disconnected from the hospital’s server, lose some or all of the file I was working on, and have to completely shut down and restart to get back into the server. That thing is very temperamental!! Anyways, my husband ordered me a network extender so I could have a direct line to the internet and no more lost connections – woooo hoooo!!  After resolving both of these issues, I was finally able to get my line count up from 284 lph (VR editing) to 298 lph! Super exciting!!  So, that was good, but with all the issues I had and crazy things going on with my kids this week, I didn’t quite get in the number of hours I wanted. Will work on the schedule more this week. Back to work in the morning and I’m excited for what this week will bring now that my computer is running in tip-top shape. Have a great week 🙂

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Scheduling work around life isn’t easy!

So one of the goals I had was to make myself a work schedule that I could stick to (see “The ‘Goal’ Post“)! There are quite a few challenges here. The point of being able to work from home is so I can work around everyone else, but that then leaves me with just not enough time to get the work done that I need to do to make $$$ (and what about time for fun??)! I really need to be working about 35 hours a week but find it difficult to get up over even 30 most weeks. Now if I could be superhuman and edit 600 lines of text per hour, 25 would be fine, but that’s not happening! I can always work during the time the kids are at school, which is about 6 hours a day, minus a lunch break and a break to get some exercise in too (which I have decided is very important to make time for too). So, that gives me 5+ hours Monday through Friday while the kids are at school. That’s 25 hours, but I still really need to squeeze in 10 more! Oh if it weren’t for kids with busy schedules and husbands working extra jobs! I would just work an extra 2 hours every afternoon, but kids have to be picked up and chauffeured to dance lessons and band concerts; dinner has to be made, homework checked….and then all of a sudden it’s bedtime! I know I can’t put the hours in later at night because – well frankly, I just won’t! Nighttime is cuddling with the kiddos reading books time, lounging on the couch watching TV time. I know even if I say I will make up the time at night, it just won’t happen. Well, I have figured out how to squeeze those 10 hours in, but it will take discipline! I used to work at 4 a.m. all the time, but haven’t been in that habit for a while. That is where I need to go again, at least 3 days a week, and then squeeze a few more hours in on our less busy afternoons and maybe squeeze the rest in on Saturday morning. Discipline is where I have the biggest problem. Does ANYONE like getting up at 4 a.m.? I am not a morning person at all, but if I go to bed early enough, I can do it. Best bet is to get up and get it out of the way early, take a shower as the kids are crawling out of bed, hope for some early sunshine to rev me up, and then I’ll feel like I’ve gotten a good start to my day! New schedule starts tomorrow….and then summer vacation starts in a couple of weeks and I have to rethink all of this haha!! But that’s OK because, honestly, I’m a super lucky gal. My teacher husband will be home all summer too and he is pretty awesome about taking the kids on full duty in the summers. It will be OK – I’m just going to be jealous of all the fun they are having!

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Birds, Breeze, and Work

Today, I am reminded of one of the great privileges of being able to work from home…my portable office! It isn’t often I take my office with me, but it is such a beautiful day! I couldn’t resist! Instead of sitting at my desk staring out the window, I have picked up and moved to the other side of the window. I have a nice shady and comfy place and I can hear the birds and feel the breeze – and smell the flowers! Hmmmmm….do you think fresh air has magic powers and will somehow make me more productive today? Maybe not typing a blog post and actually getting back to work will make me more productive! 😛

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OOW…..my least favorite acronym!

As a medical transcriptionist, I know all sorts of acronyms and their meanings, but there is one that I genuinely despise: OOW…out of work! It’s 9 a.m. and I have no work to do. It truly is feast or famine in this job. Monday morning, I started the day typing files that were backlogged and overdue. Two days later, I sit waiting and hoping for something to come my way. Oh well, I guess I have time to take a shower and do some laundry. I’m sure it will start rolling in soon.

NOTE TO SELF: OOW is one of those barriers to reaching those goals I set…sigh. Must plan how to make up for it!